How to Summarize a Text – Simplified Explanation

Summarizing an article, you have already read is the best method of understanding any article or book. This, however, requires particular skills or techniques just like any other profession, but it always differs from one reader to another since people understand things from their point of view. However, ideas summarized should be from the author’s book.

  • Summarizing an article or book is not an easy task.  You would need to skim through the article first. No pressure, keep it easy. In a relaxed, and your comfort…go through the book and keep focusing on the titles and subtitles. You should also look at those terms that are bold-faced. Ensure that you comprehend them before you finally start reading that book or the article.
  • Read the article or book keenly.
  • The main point of summarizing is to first really understand what you are going to jot short notes on your book about. Focusing on understanding the author’s book will help you not write something very close to his or her idea. This then means that you have to read and read every sentence or the whole piece thoroughly and repetitively.
  • Apart from sentences, titles always give you the best hints on what the article you are going to read is all about; hence it’s best for you to point out those special points that might be of great help in your summary writing process.
  • Re-reading- once you have skimmed through your article and have read it the first time, for you to get those ideas and important themes you will need in your article, you will need to go through it again and again as you clarify some points you might have missed before until you completely understand. Understanding before summarizing is the essence here.
  • Identify the major points.
  • Identifying your main ideas in the article and jotting them down helps you get that clear picture or understanding. It creates a thesis of what you have been reading about.  As you read, keep questioning yourself of what points come out as important in the article. Those are the first hints. Themes, the title is the catchy main points.
  • Themes that may appear are like; love, hatred, betrayal, injustice, education and so much more.
  • Authors most of the time never hide their themes and so you get them on titles of books, such as ‘Injustice.’ And that is enough point to be summarized about.
  • In other books, however, you will need to read thoroughly before you get the main ideas of what the author is trying to explain in his or her article.
  • Every author has an audience target. From the area published, you get a clue to identify the idea.
  • Date of publication
  • The genre of the author’s piece.
  • Repletion of certain ideas in the author’s article.
  • Other main points you can acquire from the author’s tone in his or her piece.

How to start a summary

Note the useful arguments.

After you have identified the main points, it’s important for you to read the article again; this time even more keenly and thoroughly to identify the other important points you might have missed before.

Here are several ways you can do that:

  • Making critical assessments as you read either on a hardcopy or softcopy kind of an article.
  • Highlighting the major themes in each paragraph. If you don’t get any theme or major points to elaborate on, you can use the themes from the title or the first sentence as the main idea.
  • Try writing bit by bit as you go through your article. You can take short notes of each sentence on another piece of paper or book. This acts as your topic sentences.
  • Then, re-read the short notes taken as your topic sentences
  • Write clearsummaries of the topic sentences as they hold the major ideas in your article. Build from them your understanding of the author’s book.
  • A major tip is to ensure your sentences are very complete. Living them hanging is confusing to your reader, and it would not be of the same idea as that of the author.
  • You should not add unnecessary information. Be particular and to the point.
  • Ensure that your summary notes are precise to the point hence making them as short as possible and very brief too.

Writing a summary – and doing it easily

Writing a summary requires great patience. Step by step method is the tip here. Take one sentence at a go as you flow through the whole article. The sentences you begin summarizing, it is important if you have a clear and firm grasp of it. Create brief, concise and logical sentences following the themes and points you had initially highlighted, avoiding unnecessary details or information.

  •    As a reader, before you start writing your summary, get to ask yourself first if you understand what the essay is all about, and what was the author’s idea in the first place that he or she wanted you to believe after writing the book.
  •    The author’s name should always be at the beginning of your every summary and the work’s title as it captures the main idea of the article or book.

Several instances can be used to give those important details. For example:

  • In “Every Dog Has Its Day,” Green Val explains…
  • Green Val, in “Every Dog Has Its Day, “explains…
  • According to Green Val in “Every Dog Has Its Day” …
  • Green Val claims in her story,” Every Dog Has Its Day,” that…

In every instance above, the summarizer has ensured to state the author’s name and title of the book as it is very essential.

  • The    Collection of thesis and the fact that you have understood the article or book, while writing your summary, you should try to avoid plagiarism by not directly quoting the author’s words in your summary. Authenticity is required as a great part of your summary. But your ideas should match that of the author’s book.
  •    However, directly quoting or paraphrasing is allowed as long as you clearly state that those are not your words.
  •    Ensure in your summary flow, u make it known that it is the authors work you still working on. Words like he or she can be used to give that stand or just use the author’s name as a reference.
  •    Summary writing should be done in present tense. Make it look like life live as it is read by your audience. For example; the author Dan Beatty, explains on his opinion about the differences between writing and analyzing.
  •    When you are done with your summary, it is of great importance if you revisited it. Check for accuracy as you reread and ensure that your ideas and view on the book is logically tied to that of the author. You should also check to ensure that you have not interpreted wrongly.
  •    Proofread your summary; once you have checked that you have represented the author in your view of the article or the book, it is important for you to check for accuracy on parts such as grammar, punctuation and so much more. Proofreading of your work should be done thoroughly. He or she should be as keen as one can focus on his or her work and see the tiny bits of mistakes.

Good summaries of a particular book or article should also include those active characters in the story, i.e., the central characters and the general settings as the flow unfolds. A good summary enables the reader to have more comprehensive coverage of the whole book.

Great tips on writing a summary

If you are assigned to write a summary of an article, create it from your understanding such that as you retell it to your readers, it is more simplified and of the same idea. Analyzing and summarizing a concept can be so confusing to many people. As much as analyzing is also all about close looking at the author’s themes and ideas, summarizing doesn’t entail a critique of any kind. It’s all about giving your views on a short kind of way.

The major components of writing a summary include:

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  • Understanding; it’s very important for you to highlight the main ideas in a sentence and take short notes as your first draft. Then go over and over through those listed ideas and choose those that have the same thesis to that of the author’s view.
  • Concise; limit your sentences. That is, ensure they are very brief. That is what summary is all about. Try avoiding mistakes such as repetitions of words, however how much the author has used the same words in his sentences. Your text and ideas in your summary should be very original or authentic.
  • Your summary, when retold to your readers, should be of much sense though it is from your point of view. Make sure that they are tied together logically.
  • Independence of your writing is very important. Try restating your ideas anew. Meaning, the style of writing, pattern, and very many things should not show any kind of imitation from the original author of the text. This can be avoided by not quoting the author. Though, your interpretation as said earlier should be logically tied to that of the author.
  • Your summary should follow the same line of argument and analysis as that of the author.

What is the actual importance of a summary writing?

Summary writing has got great benefits for both the reader and the writer. The importance of summary writing majorly lies in the whole concept, that it gives the writer a great opportunity for him or her to make a clear stand. It is more of; summary writing clears the air. In essence, summary writing gives that clear view, interpretation and hence understanding to the reader. However, it should not be too much such that it downgrades the writer’s efforts. Your summary should not confuse the reader in any sort of way. Just don’t go over the board.

Summary writing also makes reading fun since the information isn’t bulky.

Some summary examples

Here is a clear example you can use to understand the whole concept of summary writing:

In “My Everyday Lifestyle, Shelly Tina explains that lifestyle change especially regarding women clothing is demining morally but yet should still be embraced. Shelly explains that although modernism has been welcomed in every corner of the world and the fact that the great term ‘my dress my choice’ exists, women should try putting on decent clothing, same to their men counterparts.

However, she notes of how much she supports the way modernism is implemented in our everyday life and that although it has done us more harm than good, those tiny developments are what we should focus on. She notes that the statistics she carried out show that women are now more comfortable with wearing pants than their prior dressing code, dresses, and skirts. She points out that most women prefer pants as they are more comfortable and warm especially during the cold seasons.

Shelly Tina explains his own story of how much she has come up to terms of the fact that pants provide more comfort to ladies and how she is now putting on a day in day out without losing touch. She notes that pants now days can be matched with any kind of shoe or blouse. ‘The flexibility of the cloth is what gives her smiles,’ is what she says.

Going through summary examples will help you improve on summary writing because you get exposed to different samples that makes you knowledgeable. From the work of other authors, you get to learn where to improve when it comes to yours, and hence perfection.